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Emirates Airline is first airline to introduce audio description soundtracks for inflight movies

posted on 31/07/2014

Emirates Airline continues to set industry standards by becoming the first airline to introduce Audio Description on movies for visually impaired customers on its inflight entertainment system, ice Digital Widescreen, and says it will offer more than 50 movies with Closed Captions this August.

Emirates' ice (information, communication and entertainment) was recently awarded the ‘World's Best Airline Inflight Entertainment' award at the SKYTRAX World Airline Awards for the 10th consecutive year. ice now offers Audio Description soundtracks on 16 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures films including Frozen, Saving Mr. Banks, Cars 2, Monsters University , Marvel's The Avengers, Toy Story 3 and all four Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Audio Description, increasingly common in cinemas and TV, is a recorded narration explaining the scene during the gaps in dialogue, while the film soundtrack continues at its normal pace.

In 2007, Emirates also worked with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures to introduce Closed Captions, the technology used by the hard of hearing, for the first time in inflight entertainment. As well as showing the actors' dialogues in subtitles, Closed Captions also include references to sound effects used in the movie. This August ice Digital Widescreen will offer over 50 movies with Closed Captions.

"It was our motivation to introduce movies that can be enjoyed by customers with visual difficulties. Our greatest satisfaction comes from delivering an exceptional customer experience, which we hope our constant innovation fulfils. In future, we want to add more content with Audio Description, so visually impaired passengers can be entertained with an even wider choice of content when flying with us," said Patrick Brannelly, Emirates' Vice President Corporate Communications Product, Publishing, Digital & Events.

Emirates' award-winning ice Digital Widescreen offers a staggering choice of over 1,800 channels of entertainment, including over 400 movies from around the world, hundreds of hours of TV and thousands of hours of music from contemporary to classical. Customers on-board Emirates' new Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft will now be able to enjoy the ice system on larger personal TV screens with HD resolution: 27-inch in First Class, 20-inch in Business Class and 12.1 inch in Economy Class. –Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395268257109.html


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Dubai best performing realty in the Middle East

posted on 31/07/2014

Dubai has got the status of the best performing luxury real estate market in the Middle East, property consultancy Knight Frank revealed on Wednesday in its latest research.

Dubai's 6.3 per cent annual price growth of luxury homes is also slightly better than the global average recorded during the first half of the year by the latest Prime Global Cities Index by Knight Frank.

Dubai was ranked the 13th best performing real estate market tracked by the property consultancy. The mortgage cap and doubling of transfer fees at the end of 2013 in the Emirate influenced buyer activity more than forecast.

New research by Knight Frank revealed 25 to 35 per cent of purchases are mortgage financed in the Emirate, more than previously thought. However, with new supply at the prime level looking limited over the next 18 months the consultancy firm expects prices in Dubai to strengthen in the remainder of 2014.

Globally, prime residential prices across the index's 32 cities rose by 6.2 per cent on average in the year to June 2014. Of the 32 prime residential markets tracked by the index, 27 recorded positive annual price growth in the year to June 2014, up from 21 a year earlier.

However, the index's annual increase in the year to June is above the long-run average of 4.6 per cent recorded since Lehman's collapse in the third quarter of 2008, underlining the extent to which prime property has become a favoured asset class globally.

Jakarta and Dublin stand out due to their stellar performances, ending the year to June 27.3 per cent and 23.5 per cent higher respectively in the index. However, in both cases the rate of growth has slowed in the second quarter.

"In Dublin's case, the rate of growth slowed from 5.6 per cent in the first quarter to 2.1 per cent in the second. However, given Ireland's improving economic landscape and the expiry of Ireland's capital gains tax incentive at the end of 2014, we expect prime prices will continue their upward trajectory in the second half of the year,” Knight Frank said in a statement.

The consultancy noted last quarter the improving performance of luxury homes in North America. This trend has continued in the second quarter with New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco all recording double-digit annual growth in the 12 months to June, placing them all in the top 10 rankings.

With the gradual withdrawal of stimulus measures in the US and the UK, the prospect of rising interest rates and the continual enforcement of cooling measures across much of Asia, it would be logical to assume the index's performance would be weakening. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/uaebusiness/2014/July/uaebusiness_July310.xml§ion=uaebusiness


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Dubai’s hotel boom has designer labels

posted on 31/07/2014

The air conditioning vents in the Palazzo Versace hotel here zigzag like the Versace design. Every piece of the giant, colourful mosaics that decorate the bathtubs is handmade and imported from Italy. Staff uniforms will be designed by the House of Versace.

With new luxury, five-star hotels opening in Dubai each month, some operators are hoping that brand loyalty and a dose of fashion will set them apart in this crowded hospitality market.

"Each room has a different colour theme — there's lilac, blue, white, green — done elegantly,” said Raza Jafar, chief executive of Enshaa, a real estate company in the U.A.E. that is developing this Palazzo Versace hotel. "And the mosaics are by Fantini Mosaici, the Italian company that has done up Gianni Versace's own homes, as well as major projects for Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and even the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.”

Several five-star hotels have opened in many of Dubai's tourist hubs this year. A drive along the Palm Jumeirah, a man-made archipelago in the shape of a palm off the coast, reveals newly paved paths leading to the luxurious entrances of the Waldorf-Astoria, Sofitel Dubai the Palm, Anantara Dubai the Palm and billboards for a coming W Hotel.

International operators control about 68 per cent of the 93,000 hotel rooms available in the U.A.E. and a majority are in the five-star category, according to research by the consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle. By 2016, more than 28,000 rooms will be added, mainly at the highest price point, where room rates are around US$1,200 a night or as much as US$10,000 for a suite.

As tourism and business expands in the region, hotels continue to fill. Occupancy levels in the first quarter of this year remained above 80 per cent, on par with New York City and London.

"Dubai has one of the highest concentrations of five-star hotels of any major city in the world and one of the highest occupancy rates for hotel rooms,” said Chiheb Ben-Mahmoud, executive vice president and head of hotels and hospitality, Middle East and Africa, at Jones Lang LaSalle. "Dubai is seen as trendy and dynamic, which is why designer hotels are now in line.”

Designer hotels are aiming to take a piece of the growing pie with luxury products, spa offerings and a keen attention to detail.

A Roberto Cavalli-branded hotel is in the pipeline, while the Palazzo Versace hotel is scheduled to open in the spring of 2015. The Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, opened in 2010 through a collaboration between Giorgio Armani and a local developer, Emaar Properties.

"Like other hotels in the five-star segment, designer hotels have identified Dubai as an important market as the city strengthens its role as a business and leisure hub,” Ben-Mahmoud said. "But these fashion-branded hotels will only work as solid propositions, not a gimmick.”

Attempts to build designer-oriented hotels don't always work. Elisabetta Gucci, daughter of Paolo Gucci, a former design chief at the fashion label, scrapped plans to open a boutique hotel in Dubai in 2010. Gucci Group sued Elisabetta Gucci, a furniture and interior designer whose work has no connection to the fashion house, to keep the name from being associated with hotels. Ultimately, the 87-suite hotel was cancelled.

To help protect its brand, the luxury goods retailer Bulgari is working with Ritz-Carlton to take advantage of the infrastructure and experience of the long-time hospitality chain. The companies have already collaborated on design-oriented hotels in Milan, Bali and London, and they plan to open one next year in Shanghai.



Ideal location

"To ensure the highest possible degree of service, we sat down with Ritz-Calton 13 years ago to develop new operating standards across Bulgari hotels,” said Silvio Ursini, executive vice president of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts. "It's a science, not something you can improvise, and it builds on our strengths.”

Bulgari started scouting for a location in Dubai a decade ago, looking at 30 options. The company wanted a location that encompassed a beach and an urban lifestyle. Eventually, Bulgari settled on Jumeirah Bay Island, a 6 million square foot man-made island shaped like a sea horse. The site offered a beachside retreat 10 minutes away from Sheikh Zayed Road, close to the financial district and the Dubai Mall shopping centre.

Construction started in May on the project, which is being spearheaded by a local developer, Meraas Holding. When completed in 2018, the hotel will have 100 rooms and 20 beach villas, a Bulgari bar and restaurants. Framed by lush landscaped gardens, the luxury complex will spread across 1.7 million square feet. The hotel, offering a mix of traditional and modern themes, will be designed by an Italian architecture firm, Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, whose other projects include the Porta Nuova pedestrian promenade in Milan.

"The Middle East has become strategic for us as a whole — jewellery, fragrances — so adding a hotel is like an ambassador for the brand in an important market,” Ursini said.

Development costs typically run higher for designer hotels because of the high-end construction, premier architects, exclusive locations and luxury products offered. The total for Palazzo Versace is expected to be around US$625 million (Dh2.5 billion), according to Jafar of Enshaa.

The details matter to a discerning audience, Jafar said. At the Palazzo Versace in Dubai, the countertops are made of the best marble available. The colourful vases — Versace, of course — that adorn them can cost up to US$1,500 each. The empty pool under construction has a hole in the centre to make room for a mosaic the size of a small studio apartment.

"This is for the client who will recognise that our cutlery is from Rosenthal and can accurately estimate the thread count of the Egyptian cotton on the sheets,” he said, walking around one of the completed suites. "It's the client who will tell you, in detail, why they prefer a certain type of caviar. It's a lifestyle and an attitude.” - The New York Times News Service – http://gulfnews.com/business/tourism/dubai-s-hotel-boom-has-designer-labels-1.1365443


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Aldar to launch apartments in Abu Dhabi’s tallest tower

posted on 31/07/2014

Aldar Properties intends to launch 474 residential units for rent in Abu Dhabi city in the last quarter, said Talal Al Dhiyebi, executive director of Asset Management at Aldar.

The 474 units are part of the WTC Residences in downtown Abu Dhabi.

Construction work in the residence tower was completed, Mr Al Dhiyebi said, adding that the flats would be put up for rent at competitive prices based on a market study.

The residence tower comprises 80,000 square metres, 92 floors and stands at 382 metres high.

The tower has various types of apartments from one to five bedroom. It also features luxurious entertainment facilities including a gym and a swimming pool on the 58th floor. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/business/industry-insights/property/aldar-to-launch-apartments-in-abu-dhabis-tallest-tower


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Damac will list on DFM in major boost for U.A.E. stock markets

posted on 31/07/2014

In a major boost for U.A.E. stock markets, Damac, the luxury property developer, is to list shares on the Dubai Financial Market.

The listing will put Damac in the top 10 of U.A.E. listed companies, with a market capitalisation of about US$3.5 billion, and will give regional retail investors the opportunity to participate in one of the U.A.E.'s most successful companies.

Damac announced yesterday that it was offering investors the opportunity to convert its global depository receipts (GDRs), currently listed on the London Stock Exchange, into ordinary equity and list them on the Dubai market. The move sparked a 5.9 per cent jump in the value of the London stock, to nearly US$16.05 per GDR. They were floated in December in London at US$12.25 each.

Hussain Sajwani, the founder and executive chairman of Damac, will continue to own about 85 per cent of the company.

"Those investors who choose not to participate in the offer will continue to hold their GDRs, which will remain traded on the LSE. However, the board of Damac and I strongly encourage eligible holders to accept the offer by tendering all of their GDRs in exchange for Damac Shares. We now look forward to joining other prominent Dubai companies on the DFM as we continue to work hard to create value for our investors.”.

GDR holders have until September 2 to decide whether to convert their holdings to DFM listed equity. They will be offered 23.0769231 Damac shares per GDR.

The offer is conditional on the Dubai market allowing the conversion to go ahead.

"I'm sure DFM would be motivated to list a successful company like Damac,” said source close to the company, who declined to be named. "Because the GDRs will remain listed in London, we will continue to comply with LSE regulations, which makes for a good investment case in Dubai.

The DFM has experienced volatility in recent weeks with shares swinging between bull and bear market territory, triggered by investor concern over Arabtec's outlook and amid high levels of leverage.

The Damac listing will be the first of several new companies on the Dubai market in the second half of the year, including a greenfield IPO for Marka in September and a hotly anticipated listing of Emaar's retail unit that operates The Dubai Mall.

Damac will not raise any funds in the DFM listing. When Damac listed GDRs last year, Mr Sajwani made nearly US$400m from the exercise, which propelled him into the billionaire's lists as one of the U.A.E.'s richest men.

After a successful career in the wholesale catering business –where one of his biggest clients was the American military during the two wars in Iraq – Mr Sajwani launched Damac to benefit from the boom in U.A.E. property after foreign investors were allowed to buy in the emirates in 2002.

He survived the market collapse of 2008 by careful management of cash and the shelving or postponement of several developments.

The revival of the Dubai property market has pushed Damac to return to upmarket property development, most recently in partnership with some of the world's biggest luxury brands such as Fendi, Versace and Paramount. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/business/industry-insights/markets/damac-will-list-on-dfm-in-major-boost-for-uae-stock-markets


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du finishes 800MHz trial run to improve mobile coverage

posted on 31/07/2014

Du, the Middle East's fastest growing telecommunications service provider, on Wednesday announced successful field testing for LTE-A Carrier Aggregation between the 800MHz band and the 1800MHz band, a new mobile broadband technology that is aimed at providing greater speed and reliability to mobile subscribers across the U.A.E..

This builds on du's achievement earlier this year of the company more than doubling its LTE footprint in the U.A.E. in 2014 compared to 2012, and is yet another step in du's continuous efforts to offer best-in-class network technology to its customers

Coordinated in partnership with Huawei — a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider — the carrier aggregation technology was tested on du's 4G LTE mobile network. The adoption of LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation solutions can ultimately help provide du customers with greater access to high-speed 4G LTE mobile broadband services across more locations in U.A.E. while significantly improving indoor coverage. The latest field test successfully demonstrated the LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation between two LTE frequency bands, namely 800Mhz and 1800Mhz frequencies.

"Offering innovative and class-leading customer experience means the most to us and utilising the 800MHz band to provide 4G-LTE mobile broadband services to the public is a pivotal technology vehicle we are planning to use to further enhance the user experience and significantly extend our state-of-the art 4G-LTE network coverage to a larger section of du customers,” Saleem Al Balooshi, executive vice-president of Network Development and Operation, du, said.

It is noteworthy to mention that in the TRA's mobile networks benchmarking survey on quality of service (QoS) in 2013, du leads on several key performance indicators. According to telecom experts at Analysys Mason, in 2014 it is expected that more operators will deploy LTE-A carrier aggregation worldwide with early tests enabling operators to bind separate spectrum channels together to create larger channels and faster wireless services, as well as reduce operational expenditure from running multiple networks.

"Building upon our continuous success, we are further enhancing our lead in the mobile broadband services and we are very thankful to the TRA for allowing us to utilise the 800MHz band in these field trials.” Al Balooshi said. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/July/uaebusiness_July311.xml§ion=uaebusiness


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Dubai Festival City to launch ‘Disney Fantasy Cruise’

posted on 31/07/2014

Dubai Festival City (DFC) Mall is giving away five all-expenses paid "Disney Fantasy Cruise” holidays as part of the very exciting programme of activities that is planned for families throughout the summer season.

By shopping for over Dhs150 or more at any store in Dubai Festival City Mall, customers will enter into a raffle draw for a chance to be one of five lucky families to experience the magical world of Disney on a five-star cruise liner that will surely capture their hearts and imagination.

"We encourage all visitors to take part in this exciting promotion which offers them a chance to travel on a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise packed with exciting entertainment programmes, including Broadway-style live shows, the latest Disney movies and the chance to meet and greet some of the most recognised Disney characters,” said Murray Bell, Managing Director, Retail, Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate. 

Visitors to Dubai Festival City Mall this DSS will also have plenty to rejoice about as the mall will be hosting plenty of entertainment for the whole family, including "Modhesh Summer Fashion” between 6-12 August, live performances from the hit cartoon ‘Dexter's Laboratory' from Aug. 13-20, and the popular "Meet the Nicktoons” featuring iconic characters such as Dora the Explorer and Sponge Bob Square Pants from Aug. 21-30. 


In addition, the mall will also feature many activities that are tailor-made for children, including a fantasy-themed workshop in the Toys R Us court with tea parties and fairy meet and greets. "With this we hope to give our visitors even more reasons to celebrate with us this DSS,” commented Bell. – The Gulf Today -

http://www.gulftoday.ae/portal/afb086c4-7414-47b2-905b-99d78fdb9a49.aspx


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ADFD funding in underdeveloped countries hit Dh61b

posted on 31/07/2014

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, or ADFD, which is celebrating its 43rd anniversary this month, has funded Dh61 billion development projects in the underdeveloped countries.

Established on July 15, 1971 on the directive of the U.A.E.'s founder President, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ADFD is one of the most prominent development aid providers in the world and a role model in providing financial aid to fight the cause of global poverty.

The development finance institution articulates the U.A.E.'s continued commitment to support the development process of emerging countries. Towards this priority, the Fund offers soft loans and manages government grants to projects that play a key role in shaping the growth of these countries.

In addition, it also makes long-term investments and direct contributions that stimulate the private sector in the recipient countries and plays an essential role in accelerating economic growth.

ADFD's funding strategy focuses on sectors that are vital for both economic and social development such as agriculture, electricity, water, transportation, industry, renewable energy, as well as social, health and housing services.

Over the years, the fund has consistently responded to the changing directions of global development aid by increasing its capital from Dh8 billion to Dh16 billion, and lately by developing its five-year strategy (2012 - 2016).

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of ADFD, said: "The fund has become a pioneering example in the field of development aid. Starting with a capital of Dh500 million in 1971, the total value of the grants managed and loans provided by the fund by the end of the second quarter of 2014 reached Dh61 billion including Dh27.7 billion short and long-term loans, and Dh41 billion provided as government grants. The fund has so far financed 416 development projects in 69 countries around the world, reflecting its continuing commitment in playing an effective role in alleviating poverty in developing countries, and setting them on a development path.

In the Arab world, ADFD has provided more than Dh54 billion to finance projects in Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia, Lebanon, Somalia, Djibouti, and the Comoros Islands.

In Asia, ADFD has financed projects worth Dh3.691 billion in Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mongolia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and the Maldives.

Additionally, it has provided around Dh2.73 billion to fund projects in Africa that have widely benefitted countries including Mauritius, Seychelles, Gambia, Eritrea, Burkina Faso, Benin, Guinea, Tanzania, Lesotho, Senegal, Uganda, Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Kenya, Burundi, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Sudan and Cape Verde. Elsewhere, the Fund has provided Dh1.2 billion to finance development projects in countries such as Turkey, Malta, Albania and Montenegro, among others.

In 2009, ADFD signed a partnership agreement with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to provide soft loans worth Dh1.28 billion to finance renewable energy projects in developing countries, across a seven year period (Dh183 million a year).

In 2013, the fund continued its support for developing countries by providing loans to finance projects in Mauritania, Albania, Bangladesh and Kenya.

In the first half of 2014, ADFD signed a number of financing agreements with countries including Gambia, Senegal, Zambia, Serbia, Sierra Leone and Mauritania to provide development aid totalling over Dh534 million. 
 - Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/July/uaebusiness_July307.xml§ion=uaebusiness


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Capital calls for agriculture experts

posted on 31/07/2014

The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA), the world's most influential event for the future of sustainable agriculture, has launched the call for innovations for next year's event, to be held from March 9-10, 2015 in Abu Dhabi.

The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2014.

GFIA is held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.

"As we look to build upon the success of GFIA 2014 and continue to drive the global agricultural revolution, we want to hear from all those working at the cutting edge of food production,” said Mark Beaumont, GFIA project director. – Khaleej Times -http://www.khaleejtimes.com/biz/inside.asp?xfile=/data/uaebusiness/2014/July/uaebusiness_July312.xml§ion=uaebusiness


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5.5-magnitude earthquake hits South Iran, 300 kilometre from Abu Dhabi

posted on 31/07/2014

U.A.E.'s National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) has registered an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 on Richter scale which hit South Iran, 300 kilometres from Abu Dhabi, this morning.

A mild tremor was felt in the different parts of the U.A.E., the NCMS added. – Emirates News Agency WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395268248471.html


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Arab Parliament decries continuation of Israeli aggression on Palestinian people in Gaza

posted on 31/07/2014

CAIRO:The Speaker of Arab Parliament, Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Jarwan, has denounced the continuation of the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people in Gaza.

He described in a statement that the Israeli operations as brutal, adding that Israel blatantly violates all the human rights and war principles. "The Zionist entity exploits the international silence to wreak havoc in Gaza, and rid itself from the minimum humanity requirements." Al Jarwan pointed out that Israel deliberately kills children, women and elderly people, making the Gaza Strip a murder squad amid absence of any international will or Palestinian air defence system.

He called on the Security Council states, especially Russia and China to provide an international protection to the public facilities, notably, the power station that was bombed so as to increase the woes of Palestinians as per the Zionist scheme to make Gaza a mass grave.

Al Jarwan reiterated that the world and its organisations should assume their responsibilities to restore the power plant at least at humanitarian level, as there is no power to run the hospitals.

He added, "The Zionist leaders should not escape the war crimes against the humanity," calling on the International Court of Justice to expedite the cases brought to it by the Palestinian government by taking immediate action against perpetrators.

Al Jarwan stressed that the continuation of the aggression increases number of the civilian casualties daily, calling for more urgent Arab and international relief efforts.

He urged the Arab and Islamic countries to take a stand on what is happening in Palestine to deter the savage Zionist massacres. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/arab/1395268262177.html


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U.A.E.'s Red Crescent offers more aid to displaced Gazans

posted on 31/07/2014

GAZA: The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) on Wednesday has given out more food aid to internally displaced Gazan Palestinians in different areas of calamity-stricken Gaza Strip.

Emad Abu Laban, Director of the ERC Office in Gaza, said the agency distributed more than 2300 food packages to the refugees taking shelters at schools run by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) or at their relatives' houses.

The U.A.E.'s humanitarian major also gave out 500 items of clothing to the displaced, children in particular, at a number of UNRWA schools in Gaza.

ERC's most recent humanitarian effort in Gaza was coordinated with Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

In addition, the more than 20-bed field hospital in Deir Al Balah, Gaza, recently set up by ERC and now is being run by PRCS, receives more than 50 patients and performs more than 20 surgeries per day.

Four ERC delegations have visited Gaza Strip so far to set up the hospital and launch the agency's intensive relief operation. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-arab/1395268260663.html


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Dh373m grant to establish research centre

posted on 31/07/2014

A Dh373-million grant from the U.A.E. could soon pave the way towards diagnosing and treating a host of rare and complex diseases in children.

The grant, made by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Al Nahyan, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, will help establish the Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children in London, under the umbrella of the Great Ormond Street Hospital (Gosh).

"This generous gift will give us an opportunity to change the lives of children with rare and complex diseases. The centre will seek to promote a better understanding of paediatric conditions and the development of new innovative therapies to treat and diagnose them,” Professor Bobby Gaspar, director-designate for the upcoming centre and paediatric consultant immunologist at Gosh, told Gulf News.

The donation is the largest of its kind made to Gosh, a centre of excellence in the healthcare of children aged up to 16 years.

"We are incredibly grateful for the grant, which will be used to construct a purpose-built five-storey structure to house the 13,000 square-metre centre,” Gaspar said.

Work on the facility will begin soon, and it is expected to be operational by 2018. Approximately 476 researchers and clinical staff will work there to build platform technologies, develop gene therapies and advance regenerative medicine. An outpatient section will also be able to conduct about 240 patient consultations each day, along with 60 clinical investigations.

Experts at Gosh are specialists in treating complex children's diseases, including aggressive cancers, metabolic illnesses and immune conditions.

"For example, we pioneered the use of copied genes to replace defective ones in children. Our specialists have also used regenerative medicine, which makes use of the body's own cells, to develop windpipes. This technology, we hope, can soon be used to regenerate other organs, including the lungs, bladder and oesophagus,” Gaspar said.

Genetics will form another area of focus at the future facility, especially because the identification and working of the genetic components of a complex disease can help find cures for them or prevent them from occurring.

Gaspar added that the therapies and methods developed at the centre will advance global paediatric healthcare.

"Our patients come from all over the UK, and we see a fair number from the Middle East as well,” he said.

Such grants to specialist healthcare facilities are often made by the U.A.E.. Another instance is a US$150 million (Dh550 million) grant made by the Abu Dhabi Government in 2009 to the United States-based Children's National Medical Centre, this helped set up the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Paediatric Surgical Innovation in Washington.

Sheikha Fatima takes an active interest in the development of community and healthcare within the U.A.E. and abroad. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/dh373m-grant-to-establish-research-centre-1.1365609


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Abu Dhabi powerboat team trains in Italy

posted on 31/07/2014

Abu Dhabi's Formula one and Formula Two power boat teams on Thursday are leaving for Italy for training for Grand Prix of China, which will be organised in Liuzhou, China, on 1-2 October, on directives from H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Advisor to U.A.E. President, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC).

Assistant Director-General of ADIMSC, Salim Al Rumaithi, who is leading Team Abu Dhabi to Italy, noted that the one-week training, testing and fine-tuning mission in Casale-Monferrato is aimed at making sure the team members and boats are fully prepared for the forthcoming competition.

Al Rumaithi noted that the most important goal of training in Europe is to put the team in a different climate outside the Gulf region as a routine measure by Team Abu Dhabi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM - http://www.wam.ae/en/news/sports-emirates/1395268261039.html


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